Trump Mourns Loss of “Beautiful Statues and Monuments” in Wake of Charlottesville Rally Over Robert E. Lee Statueposted on August 17, 2017
The Washington Post’s David Nakamura reports, “President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of ‘beautiful statues and monuments’ in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.” In a series of morning tweets, President Trump doubled down on statements made earlier in the week, in which he claimed that some “Unite the Right” demonstrators had legitimate complaints. Nakamura adds, “Some white supremacist leaders, including David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, have praised Trump for his ‘honesty’ and ‘courage.”’
The Washington Post’s Sandhya Somashekhar reports, “The Texas legislature abruptly ended its special session late Tuesday without passing a bill regulating the use of bathrooms by transgender people, a setback for Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who had called the 30-day session in large part to enact such a law.” Somashekhar adds, “The failure of the Texas bill was met with relief by LGBT rights activists, who pledged to continue to fight such efforts in the state and nationally.” Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a supporter of the bill, said of the people of Texas: “They don’t want their children showering together, boys and girls in the 10th grade, sharing locker rooms and restrooms.”
ThinkProgress’s Jack Jenkins writes about Congregate CVille, a movement formed five weeks ago that directed clergy members to counter-protest the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last weekend. The Rev. Seth Wispelwey, a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister who helped organize the resistance, said, “We invited in national faith leaders who were able to equip others on how to be disciplined and present in situations of volatility and violence and potential for harm.” Jenkins adds that as some faith leaders aided counter-protesters in need, others joined the front lines, linking arms to block white supremacists from entering Emancipation Park.
Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that Boston community leaders came together on Tuesday to denounce the vandalism of the New England Holocaust Memorial, which has been desecrated three times over the last two months. A resident of a mental health facility allegedly damaged memorial flowers on Tuesday, while a 17-year-old was charged on Monday for throwing a rock at one of the memorial’s symbolic glass panels. Szaniszlo writes, “This week’s vandalism comes weeks after a 21-year-old with a history of mental illness shattered one of the memorial’s glass panels, which are etched with numbers representing the tattoos on the arms of Jews sent to Nazi death camps.”
Religion News Service’s Adelle M. Banks reports, “More than 4,000 religious leaders have signed a letter urging Congress to maintain the Johnson Amendment, a law barring pulpit politicking that President Trump has vowed to gut.” The letter, which was sent to Congress on Wednesday, reads, “Faith leaders are called to speak truth to power, and we cannot do so if we are merely cogs in partisan political machines.” Banks adds that the message was organized by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
For The Washington Post, Yair Rosenberg argues that the question of whether or not Jews are white must be set aside, since they are so often targeted by white supremacists. Rosenberg writes, “At their Friday night rally at the University of Virginia, the white nationalists brandished torches and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans.” He adds, “When white supremacists are viciously attacking Jews as nonwhite impostors, then any anti-racists worthy of the name must be there to defend them. They cannot impose their own definitions of whiteness on Jews and sidestep their plight.”
CNN’s Daniel Burke reports, “Hillary Clinton’s longtime pastor plagiarized the writings of another minister in a new book scheduled to be released on Tuesday.” The Rev. Bill Shillady’s Strong for a Moment Like This, which is based on messages that the United Methodist minister wrote to Clinton from April 2015 through December 2016, features emails that take paragraphs from the Rev. Matthew Deuel’s blog. Deuel said, “If my blog then, in turn, inspired Rev. Shillady and it was used to encourage Hillary Clinton, then praise God for that! Could it have been done differently? Probably.”
The Associated Press’s Will Weissert and David Crary report, “The Republican-controlled Texas Senate backed a plan Saturday night to restrict insurance coverage for abortions, over the objections of opponents who expressed concern it could force some women to make heart-wrenching choices because no exceptions will be made in cases of rape and incest.” After a final vote on Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the plan into law, which will require women to purchase additional abortion insurance, except in cases of medical emergency. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat from Houston, said, “No woman plans to have an abortion and certainly no woman can plan to be raped, no woman can plan to be attacked by someone she knows in her own family.”
Buzzfeed’s Borzou Daragahi reports that dozens of Western citizens have illegally entered Syria to join the International Freedom Battalion of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a group of leftist foreign fighters that is battling ISIS. Daragahi writes, “Some wanted to put their military experience to use against ISIS. Some are leftist activists who say they believe in the quasi-socialist vision of Syria’s Kurds.” Daragahi adds, “US-led coalition officials leading the war effort said they consider the foreign volunteers a potentially distracting nuisance, and steer clear.”
Alleged Driver of Car That Plowed Into Charlottesville Crowd Was a Nazi Sympathizer, Former Teacher Saysposted on August 14, 2017
The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro, Alice Crites, Laura Vozzella, and John Woodrow Cox report from Charlottesville, Virginia, “A man accused of plowing a car into a crowd of activists here – killing one person and injuring 19 – long sympathized with Nazi views and had stood with a group of white supremacists hours before Saturday’s bloody crash.” The 20-year-old alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was part of a group of mostly white male protesters who were fighting the planned removal of a statue that memorializes Robert E. Lee. Fields’s high school history teacher said, “It was obvious that he had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler.”